You’ve heard about them, but what are the benefits of Omega-3 fats?
On this episode of Anti-Aging Hacks, dive into the juicy details.
What are Omega fats and why are they essential?
- There are several fatty acids, omega 3 and omega 6 are essential because our bodies cannot make them.
- Omega-3 come primarily from the sea, starts off in the sea.
- Made in the ocean by single celled organisms, then go up the food chain into the fish
- We cannot make omega-3 or omega-6, but your body can make omega-9
What are the benefits of Omega-3 fats (and Omega-6)?
- Fats are used to make cell walls of every cell in your body
- Omega-3 fats can make cell walls more flexible. This is important for red blood cells which squeeze into tight capillaries to deliver blood, oxygen and nutrients
- Cells can use omega-3’s in the membranes to make enzymes, mediators, prostaglandins, eicosanoids to regulate inflammation and many other positive effects in the body
- Omega-3’s can reduce triglycerides in blood, can slightly reduce blood pressure and may also have effects on heart rate variability
- Omega-3’s can also make blood thinner
Why Red Blood Cell Membrane Is A Good Marker Of Omega-3 Levels?
- Red blood cells are made in bone marrow. The amount of saturated, poly and mono-unsaturated percentages are fixed.
- Your diet doesn’t change the percentages based on your consumption of saturated or mono-unsaturated, but omega-3’s and omega-6’s seesaw in the membrane
- Brain is very high in DHA
How Can You Tell If You Are Low On Omega-3 or 6?
- Typical signs of deficiency are dry skin, dermatitis, dry eye
- The other correlation is high triglycerides in your blood
How Does Your Body Metabolize Omega-3’s and Omega-6’s
- The body does the conversions in the liver
- Essential omega-6 starts with linoleic acid and gets converted to many others
- The other important omega-6 is arachadonic acid
- On omega-3, alpha linolenic acid in the main fatty acid, which comes from soybean oil and flaxseed oil
- This metabolizes to EPA and DHA…but the conversions are very low in the range of 1-5%
- These fatty acids are tightly regulated on the omega-6 side.
Do Omega 3 and Omega 6 Compete For The Same Enzymes?
- Yes, they compete for the same enzymes
- It is a complicated story because we don’t understand
How Would We Get Enough Omega-3’s in Diet?
- First, start with testing. Get the omegaquant test to get the percentage of EPA and DHA in your red cell membranes.
- Target range is 8-12% of EPA and DHA
- High fish diets lead to these numbers
- SMASH (sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon, herring) – are high in omega-3
- Eat these every day or every other day
- Otherwise use EPA/DHA supplement 1-3g/day
How Can You Source Your Omega-3 and Omega-6?
- Smaller fish have lower mercury from the ocean
- Farm vs. wild: depends on the farm. Farmed atlantic salmon has a high EPA/DHA. Wild salmon can have a lower amount of fat because it is leaner.
- There is no standard feed for farmed fish, so the omega 3 levels can go up and down
- Also growing EPA and DHA from algae on land and feeding these fish the algae to increase levels of omega-3
- Watch out for tuna, shark, swordfish, king mackerel, albacore tuna.
- For vegans, can take algae. Flaxseed oil does raise your EPA, but not DHA.
- 1500 mg per EPA or DHA. 50/50 or 60/40 percent of EPA/DHA is fine.
Are there absorption issues or types of supplements?
- Ethyl ester form of supplements are not absorbed as well, and especially if you are taking them without food
- Triglyceride form – can take with or without food
- Phospholipid form – mainly made from krill oil. These are as well absorbed as the triglyceride form
What Are The Anti-Aging Benefits of Omega-3 Fats?
- Higher the omega-3 index is, the longer people live
- Higher omega-3 level at age 65 led to a lower mortality rate by age 75
- Omega-3 is anti-inflammatory
- Slower loss of telomere length
- Omega-3’s can regulate mTOR
What Is The Omega Quant Test?
- The test measures EPA and DHA as a percent of your cell membranes in red blood cells
- Dr. Harris believes that the right percentage is between 8-12%
- Can get the test at Omegaquant.com
- Omega 6:3 ratio is all the omega 6 to omega 3.
- Dr. Harris recommends eating more omega 3 than reducing omega 6.
- AA:EPA ratio is arachadonic acid to EPA ratio, but this ignores DHA
To learn more about which foods can help you beat disease, live longer and defy aging – check out this interview with the author of Eat To Beat Disease.